Categories
Metro Manila Philippines Travel

Binondo Chinese New Year | Starting the Year of the Horse in China Town

All I see is red in a good way in the somewhat beautiful chaos of crowd on the first day of the Year of the Horse in Binondo China Town. I think it was two years ago when I last experienced the Chinese New Year celebration in Manila. I thought it would great and hope would bring good vibes to welcome this year’s Chinese calendar which coincides with mine, who is also born in the Year of the Horse. So off I go to Manila and met some friends who joined me chase dragons, shop for lucky charms and get some authentic Chinese bite or two.

A Dancing Dragon
A Dancing Dragon near Binondo Church

All I see is red in a good way in the somewhat beautiful chaos of crowd on the first day of the Year of the Horse in Binondo China Town. I think it was two years ago when I last experienced the Binondo Chinese New Year celebration in Manila. I thought it would great and hope would bring good vibes to welcome this year’s Chinese calendar which coincides with mine, who is also born in the Year of the Horse. So off I go to Manila and met some friends who joined me chase dragons, shop for lucky charms and get some authentic Chinese bite or two.

Dragon Dance in the mist of the firecracker's smoke
Dragon Dance in the mist of the firecracker’s smoke

Chasing Dragons

Drum beats here and there, firecrackers with their ear-piercing sound and the dragons getting lost in the smoke and dancing in circles around the firecrackers. It’s always entertaining to see their choreographed movements as they drive away bad vibes for the new year. They come in different colors and sizes, some with more lions than others. Chasing dragons is one of the spectacles to see during this season and they can just pop out from nowhere.

People buying lucky charms
People buying lucky charms

Lucky Charms

If you believe in luck, there’s an abundance here, lucky charms that is! While I still believe we are the driver behind our fortune’s wheels, it wouldn’t hurt to get some positive influence as well. There’s a lot of horse figures here, coins, bamboo plants and bracelets. I got myself a 9-eye Dzi bead bracelet, which is believed to bring good wealth and fortune for the Horse-born on the year of the horse. I’m not sure if it would work but there’s nothing to lose by having one.

Streetside altar. Binondo shows the fusion of beliefs from Christian and Chinese
Streetside altar. Binondo shows the fusion of beliefs from Christian and Chinese

Chinese Eats

With Binondo Chinese New Year teeming with people, we only got to eat at one resto, the New Po-Heng Lumpia. I couldn’t complain though as it was cheap and filling and most of all, it was a new year’s treat from the RoadworthyMan himself.

Prayers inside the temple
Prayers inside the temple

Guan Sheng Fu Zi Temple

We also visited one of the Chinese Temples in the area, particularly the Guan Sheng Fu Zi Temple found at the 3rd floor at one of the buildings in Ongpin. It was interesting to see their rituals here from burning a amount of incense, paper money, dragon candles and even drinking tea. Didn’t stay too long for the afternoon since I have a schedule later that day. I bid farewell to my companions Erick, Rocel and Jet. On my way out of Ongpin, there was a parade ongoing. I didn’t know there were parades like this before. Mayor Erap and Vice Mayor Isko was there. Probably their initiative this year. The parade made it more challenging to get out of China Town but I managed it somehow. Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!

Lucky Ginger
Lucky Ginger
Horses and jades are lucky for 2014
Horses and jades are lucky for 2014
A purple dragon
A purple dragon
Succulents and incense
Succulent plants like this are also lucky this year as well as lighting 8 incense while offering your prayer
A vendor looking through his peddled goods
A vendor looking through his peddled goods
Photographers and a fire-breather
Photographers seems to enjoy taking photos of this fire-breather
We saw a fortune telling session at the street
We saw a fortune telling session at the street
More dragon dance amidst the smoke and exploding firecrackers
More dragon dance amidst the smoke and exploding firecrackers
Green dragon at rest
Green dragon at rest, children came out to play
There's a parade this time of the year and the Manila Mayor Erap as well as VIce Mayor Isko were present
There’s a parade this time of the year and the Manila Mayor Erap as well as VIce Mayor Isko were present

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.